Tonga target ex-All Blacks wing Charles Piutau for 2019 World Cup

Former All Blacks wing Charles Piutau is weighing up switching allegiances to Tonga for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, coach Toutai Kefu says.

Piutau, 26, played the last of his 17 Test matches for the All Blacks back in 2015, conceivably allowing him to be eligible for the nation of his heritage at the 2019 tournament in Japan.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand, Tonga coach Kefu said the former All Blacks and Blues star was eager to make the switch, having represented Tonga at under-20 level.

He's very determined to play for Tonga so we're very happy about that - Tonga coach Toutai Kefu

"I've spoken to him a few times and his brother (Siale) as well - he's very determined to play for Tonga so we're very happy about that," Kefu said.

Piutau left New Zealand for Ulster in 2015, ruling him out of All Blacks selection, and will next season move to English side Bristol.

Kefu said that Piutau wasn't the only former All Black being targeted by Tonga, singling out ex-Blues and Counties winger Frank Halai, who played one Test for the All Blacks in 2013.

"There's a winger in France now by the name of Frank Halai, who's had also a cap for the All Blacks. He's a player we're very much interested in and he's a player that's very much interested in coming to play for us."

Rugby's eligibility rules state that a player can represent another nation, provided they hold the correct passport and haven't played international rugby for three years.

Charles Piutau of the All Blacks
Charles Piutau Source: Photosport